Introductory card-driven game with strategic decision by deck-building concept.
Issue game of Wargame Japanese History #13.
This game is designed by 「砂漠のキタキツネ」 , pen-name of Masayoshi Imura.
The game engine is very common card-driven system. Each player start his turn with 4 cards in hand and play one card alternatively until the turn end.
Each card has operation value and event. Each player decide how to use it when playing. The operation value ranges from 1 to 3 and 1 operation point can activate one space for movement or attack. In this game, there’s no event card which must be removed after playing as event. So, all cards are recycled to make a new deck when the deck is exhausted.
The cards are divided into cards for Saigou player and for Government player. And even divided into starting cards and additional cards. Additional cards must be purchased by playing special event card and put onto the discard pile as “Dominion” type game.
Each player starts with 8 cards, so the deck is recycled every 2 turns at start.
The game map covers the whole Kyusyu including abstract Honsyu space for reinforcement of Seihu army.
Though the battle of Tabaruzaka and encirclement of Kumamoto castle are popular, the designer decided to cover the whole Kyusyu to include strategic decisions for both players. The map is typical point to point type and each space can have only 2 units.
The units ranges from one-step garrison to 4 step regular army of the government.
The combats are resolved by firepower-type CRT. Each side sums up his firepower and roll one die to determine how many damage points he inflicted to the enemy. Then, each side absorbs the all damage by reducing his steps. Each unit has its designated damage points. So, as long as a player has stronger units usual results can be absorbed by one step. But, once his force become reduced, even usual results must be absorbed by several steps due to reduced value of their damage points. So, each force looks stable at first, but once the damage amounts to dangerous level, the force can be totally eliminated sooner than players think. This is especially dangerous for Saigou player, because his elite units cannot recover to the original full-step once they get a damage.
Another tricky point is that there’s no way to recover the damaged units at start. Players must purchase special recovery event card to get the recovery ability. But, this card tends to slow down his attack ability due to increased number of cards in the deck. So, it is especially important for Saigou player when to purchase this card because he must first assault the enemy.
Another important strategic decisions are related to amphibious assaults. In this war, both sides planned or conducted amphibious assaults to get the initiative or cut enemy’s supply line. Saigou player has amphibious card at start and has option to assault Kumamoto castle frontally or to make amphibious assault on Northern coast such as Nagasaki.
On the other hand, government player must first purchase Kiyotaka Kuroda card to get the ability of amphibious invasion. This will be a turningpoint from defence to attack. And he must be very careful that the game has only 10 turns.
The victory is decided mainly by each force’s moral. Each force starts the game with moral 6. In each turn, both player count the number of important space they controls. The player with smaller number of the spaces must reduce his moral by the difference between those number of spaces. If either side has moral of zero or below, the game ends with the opponents win. The game starts with 7 spaces controlled by government and 5 spaces controlled by Saigou force. So, the game usually start with Saigou’s assault and tends to change counterattack of the government.
But, as described above, both sides have options how to attack the enemy. And some plan needs preparation of purchasing event card in advance.
In addition, if the game ends without any side lose by his moral, the game is Saigou’s victory.
Since players have only 4 cards each turn, the game can be played in 2 hours. So, players can easily see how his strategic decision will bring out.
On the other hand, even with smaller size, the game has strategic options and turnover during the period.
So, I strongly recommend this game as an introductory card-driven game even for novice wargame players.
The game will tell you the whole story of Seinan-sensou in 2 hours. Please try if you have a game without playing.